Over at the Complications Ensue blog, Canadian writer Alex Epstein takes on a tricky question from his readers, and offers a modest proposal:
Q. It’s still OK for Canadian production companies to hire WGC [Writers Guild of Canada] writers then sell the product to US networks?
Yes. The US market is a big part of the payday for any Canadian project, so if we couldn’t sell to the States, we’d have to shut our industry down too. We’ve agreed not to scab — write on US shows — but it would be a bit much to ask Canadian writers, who don’t get WGA rates or residuals, to stop work during a US strike.
This is a really minor issue, in reality. There are not that many Canadian shows that US audiences would cotton to. Our best shows are as good as anything on American TV, but our bad shows are considerably worse than American TV.
I don’t think a few Canadian shows will make the US network execs any less anxious to get their own scripted shows back on the air.
This would only become a problem if US studios asked Canadian producers to produce shows specifically for the American market, with stories set in the US, starring US stars. Even if the strike were guaranteed to last six months, I don’t see that happening.
But tell you what. I’ll make you a simple deal, WGC to WGA. If you guys will agree to stop selling into our market when we go on strike, we’ll agree not to sell into your market when you’re on strike.
Full text here.
— Michael Jones